Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hagel Seeks to Reassure Japan on Security Ties

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Japan where he will seek to reassure officials that the United States is committed to its mutual defense treaties in the region.

Speaking at the U.S. Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo Saturday, Hagel said Russia's annexation of Crimea and troop movements along the border with Ukraine have sparked worries among allies in the Pacific region and elsewhere. Washington and its allies have said they will not defend Ukraine militarily because it is not a NATO member.

Hagel told reporters that during his two-day visit, he will attempt to reassure Japanese leaders that Washington is strongly committed to protecting Japan's security. Japan and several Southeast Asian nations are locked in bitter territorial disputes with China, which lays claims to several islands in the region.

While Washington has repeatedly said it takes no side on the question of the disputed islands, Hagel said the U.S. wants the countries in the region to resolve the disputes peacefully. 


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